This page last updated 5 January 2018.
The W7CIA VHF/2-meter repeater is a low level open repeater, located approximately 3 miles south of Cascade, Idaho (e.g. 60 miles due north of Boise) and can be linked to the KC7MCC CIARC repeater via the 33cm Link Backbone under DTMF command by a control-operator. The W7CIA repeater provides coverage along the highway 55 cooridor, from south of Smith's Ferry (i.e. mile marker 85) to McCall.
|W7CIA VHF/2-Meter Repeater Access Parameters|
Why Hytera Was Chosen: A number of people have asked why Hytera was chosen over Motorola. Since Motorola customer programming software is a subscription service, there would be an on-going charge simply to be able to maintain programming of the repeater. No such subscription charge exists with Hytera. Pirating software is not an option, legally or ethically. Motorola may very well be a viable choice for other repeater owners / operators if the subscription fee is not objectionable to them, or if they have a business relationship with Motorola that negates the cost of the subscription. Given a very balanced comparison of Motorola and Hytera repeater specifications, and Hytera's more favorable retail pricing when compared to Motorola, Hytera simply made the most economic sense.
Because of DMR's implementation of digital voice technologies, including Forward Error Correction (FEC), DMR may offer a 25% to 30% greater coverage foot-print than standard analog FM technology. This gain largely occurs because DMR provides the equivalent of a full-quieting signal (i.e. no noise) where the analog signal falls into the noise floor as the signal becomes weaker. It is realized that the majority of DMR activity in the USA is centered on 70cm UHF, but 2m VHF provides nearly a four-fold increase in coverage foot-print when compared to 70cm UHF, so the combination of DMR and VHF makes sense when considering coverage performance.
If your station is not DMR equipped, and you attempt to listen directly to the W7CIA repeater on 146.960 MHz, you will only hear digital communications, which will sound like noise. It is recommended that stations equipped with standard analog FM capability use either the No Business Mt. or Brundage Mt. CIARC analog 2-meter FM repeaters.
IRLP and EchoLink capabilities are available full-time on the CIARC 33cm Link Backbone. Connectivity between DMR / Brandmiester services and EchoLink / IRLP services can be enabled or disabled by an authorized control operator. When connectivity between EchoLink / IRLP services are enabled for DMR, those services are only available on DMR Time-Slot 1. The IRLP node number for thw W7CIA repeater is 3210. The EchoLink node name and node number for the W7CIA repeater are W7CIA-R and 696264 respectively. The W7CIA repeater implements an EchoLink blocking policy on stations that connect and disconnect without making a call, or by exhibiting other abusive behavior (such as repetitive keying to position a directional antenna). If you abuse the EchoLink service by displaying poor operator behavior, you will be blocked.
For those wishing to add the W7CIA VHF DMR Repeater to their DMR code-plug, the following programming parameters should be employed:
|W7CIA DMR Code-Plug Parameters|
|CHANNEL||CHANNEL NAME||TALK GROUP TYPE||TIME-SLOT||TALK-GROUP||COLOR CODE||TIME OUT||CLUSTER|
|8||BM ZONE 7||DYNAMIC||1||31097||1||180||NO|
|9||BM TAC 5||DYNAMIC||1||8955||1||180||NO|
|13||S1 TG8 NET||STATIC||1||8||1||180||YES|
|14||S2 TG2 NET||STATIC||2||2||1||180||YES|
If you are constructing a code-plug that supports the KC7MCC, N7IBC and W7CIA DMR repeaters, it is recommended interleaving channels for each of the repeaters as contiguous channels of a like talk-group to promote driving safety. For example, if the TS1 NET for the KC7MCC DMR repeater is adjacent to the channel for the N7IBC DMR repeater, and then the W7CIA DMR repeater, you will not need to change zones when mobile operation requires you to move from one repeater to the next. You will only need to change channels.
Dynamic talk-groups (i.e. push-to-talk talk-groups), residing on time-slot 1, are available to stations directly using the W7CIA DMR repeater with DMR Tier II equipment, or by stations using analog repeaters that are on the CIARC 33cm link back-bone (when enabled). While stations on DMR will have the ability to activate a specfic dynamic talk-group, users from the CIARC link back-bone do not have the ability to select a talk-group and can only use the talk-group that is currently activated.
Calls initiated from other repeaters that are on the BrandMeister network, and appearing as a dynamic talk-group on time-slot 1, will be heard on the CIARC repeater network whenever the 33cm link is enabled. Any traffic on the CIARC repeater network will be heard on the active dynamic talk-group on time-slot 1. This means that your traffic may be heard on other repeaters in Idaho (and other regions, states, countries). The 33cm link will be disabled during the monthly CIARC NET, and at other times at the discretion of the control operator(s).
The following observations regarding interfacing through the accessory connector may be of interest to others:
The KC7MCC 70cm/UHF DMR Repeater, N7IBC 70cm/UHF DMR Repeater and W7CIA 2m/VHF DMR Repeater are configured to subscribe to a cluster on Time-Slot 1 / Talk-Group 8 and to another cluster on Time-Slot 2 / Talk-Group 2. Respectively, these channels are named TS1 NET and TS2 NET. Any communications occurring on any of these repeaters will be heard on that repeater and the other two repeaters when one of these channels is used. Clustered Talk-Groups are STATIC.
The maintaining of a static talk-group on both time-slots is not conventional. The purpose of doing so is to support primary NET operations on one time-slot, and allowing traffic to be moved off of the primary NET and onto the secondary NET in order to maintain communications capability while allowing the primary NET to serve, unimpeded by traffic, as a coordinating NET. The convention that has been established for these two clustered time-slot/talk-group pairs is that the primary NET operations will be conducted on TS2 NET while off NET traffic will be handled on TS1 NET.
A composite coverage prediction for repeaters included in these clustered channels is shown below:
Roaming provides for the automatic channel selection between two repeaters when driving out of coverage from one repeater and into coverage of another repeater. The W7ELE repeater and W7CIA repeater are configured to cooperatively support roaming, using static talk-groups, to support automatic selection of the most favorable repeater. If the operator's radio supports roaming, this means that the operator will not have to manually select the best repeater as they move in and out of coverage while mobile or portable.
This repeater has been reconfigured to support ROAMING. The repeater will transmit a beacon of a duration of 4320 milliseconds every 60-seconds. Radios that have roaming support, such as Hytera and Motorola, can be programmed to support roaming on static talk-group channels. Static talk-groups available for roaming include:
For the purpose of explaining roaming, the following discusses how roaming works with Hytera radios:
Hytera radios creates roaming lists, which are analogous to a scan list, but differ from a scan list in that the roam list contains channels on different repeaters that contain the exact same content (i.e. the same talk-group). When creating a code plug, the roam list are constructed first, and then the channels that are to be used with roaming are then subscribed to the appropriate roam list.
The following roaming lists would be created:
Then the individual channels that use the talk-groups and time-slots as appropriate for static-talk group operation on the repeater, are then configured to subscribe to the appropriate roaming list:
Lastly, the code plug is modified to assign a programmable button to be used to place the radio into or out of roaming mode.
Once the radio is properly programmed to support roaming, the appropriate channel that is included in roaming support is then selected on the operator's radio and the radio is then placed into roaming mode.
With the radio in roaming mode, the radio monitors the beaconing of the repeater. If the repeater signal strength falls below a specified Relative Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) threshold, the radio will try to find a new master repeater site by scanning the channels contained within the active roaming list. If a new master site is found that has better performance, the radio will automatically switch to that channel. If no better master site is found, the radio will remain on the current channel (which is what will happen the station moves out of range of a master site and coverage from another master site is not available). In essence, the operator's radio is voting on which repeater has the best coverage and always maintains a channel selection on the best repeater.
Roaming relieves the operator of having to manually monitor the repeater signal strength (or the station geopgraphical position) and switch channels, and this helps to maintain communications in a linked repeater network.
Because GPS / APRS data requires the use of a time-slot, and have the potential to cause interference to other users (including the potential to subscribe to a different dynamic talk-group), users should disable automatic GPS data beaconing (i.e. beaconing based on time intervals or distance intervals). Transmission of GPS data associated with either Push-To-Talk (PTT) activity or manually transmitting GPS data are allowed as this occurs under the control of the operator and will not present a risk of interference to other operators.
After running the Hytera RD-982 repeater for several months, there are several issues that have been encountered that could easily be addressed by changes to the operation of the repeater firmware, and, in some cases, would also require changes in the Customer Programming Software. Each of these issues is discussed individually below, along with a proposed solution, and a customer work-around (if available). The proposed solution is not necessarily the only solution, but provides a reference point for discussion.
AUTOMATIC RECOVERY OF NETWORK SERVICES
Loss of IP connectivity to a Master Server.
Refer to the block diagram above for physical network topology information.
This issue could be prevented if the RD-982 were installed with internet networking services that uses a fixed IP address. In the absence of a fixed IP address, a method or recovery in a DHCP addressing environment would require detecting when the public IP address changes and then trigger a reset / RE-BOOT of the RD-982 to restore network services.
Detection of a change in the public IP address can be performed by issuing an HTTP query to checkip.dyndns.org and comparing the reported public IP address to a previously stored acquisition of the public IP address, then responding to a change in public IP address by issuing an RD-982 reset and storing the new public IP address. Alternate sources of obtaining the public IP address can be had by implementing a PHP web-page and having that page return the value of the HTTP_CLIENT_IP environmental variable (or alternate environmental variable as apporpriate), using the PHP getenv function.
An embedded microcontroller implements the very recovery described immediately above. An Arduino Pro Mini microcontroller, interfaced to a DeadOn RTC break-out board and a W5500 Ethernet module (which is connected to the same Ethernet HUB as the RD-982 repeater) is used to perform an automated recovery without intervention by the system operator. The RD-982 repeater will be automatically reset under the following circumstances:
Additionally, a DTMF controlled RESET is wire-OR'ed to support remote user reset of the repeater by DTMF command (restricted to a Time Slot 1 channel).
These repeater reset facilities are intended to provide sustained connectivity with the BrandMeister network while avoiding having to have direct physical interaction with the repeater to sustain these services, and at minimal cost (e.g. approximately $40).
Hytera RD-982 RESET events for the W7CIA (311602) DMR Repeater are shown in the table below, with the most recent RESET event appearing at the top of the table.
|DMR REPEATER RESET LOG|
|RESET Event Date & Time||DMR Marc ID||Call Sign||RESET Event Type|
|Tuesday January 23, 2018 1130 UTC||311602||W7CIA||DAILY SCHEDULED EVENT|
|Monday January 22, 2018 1130 UTC||311602||W7CIA||DAILY SCHEDULED EVENT|
|Sunday January 21, 2018 1130 UTC||311602||W7CIA||DAILY SCHEDULED EVENT|
|Saturday January 20, 2018 2031 UTC||311602||W7CIA||IP ADDRESS CHANGED|
|Saturday January 20, 2018 1130 UTC||311602||W7CIA||DAILY SCHEDULED EVENT|
|Friday January 19, 2018 1130 UTC||311602||W7CIA||DAILY SCHEDULED EVENT|
|Thursday January 18, 2018 1130 UTC||311602||W7CIA||DAILY SCHEDULED EVENT|
|Wednesday January 17, 2018 1130 UTC||311602||W7CIA||DAILY SCHEDULED EVENT|
|Tuesday January 16, 2018 1130 UTC||311602||W7CIA||DAILY SCHEDULED EVENT|
|Monday January 15, 2018 2111 UTC||311602||W7CIA||PRIMARY POWER RESTORED|
|Wednesday January 10, 2018 1130 UTC||311602||W7CIA||DAILY SCHEDULED EVENT|
|Tuesday January 9, 2018 1130 UTC||311602||W7CIA||DAILY SCHEDULED EVENT|
|Monday January 8, 2018 1130 UTC||311602||W7CIA||DAILY SCHEDULED EVENT|
|Sunday January 7, 2018 1130 UTC||311602||W7CIA||DAILY SCHEDULED EVENT|
|Saturday January 6, 2018 1130 UTC||311602||W7CIA||DAILY SCHEDULED EVENT|
|Friday January 5, 2018 1130 UTC||311602||W7CIA||DAILY SCHEDULED EVENT|
|Thursday January 4, 2018 1130 UTC||311602||W7CIA||DAILY SCHEDULED EVENT|
|Wednesday January 3, 2018 1130 UTC||311602||W7CIA||DAILY SCHEDULED EVENT|
|Tuesday January 2, 2018 2316 UTC||311602||W7CIA||PRIMARY POWER RESTORED|
|Tuesday December 26, 2017 1130 UTC||311602||W7CIA||DAILY SCHEDULED EVENT|
RADIO ID LIMITS
The RD-98X series repeaters and Customer Programming Software support applying ranges of radio ID numbers to enable access to the repeater or repeater network services. One would think that the contents of these lists could also be structured to exclude a specific radio ID.
The RD-98X Customer Programming Software assumes a linear ordering of radio ID values, with fairly small integer values. All well and fine for a finite sized commercial radio network with a limited number of client radios. Amateur Radio's requirements, in this case, far exceed the needs of most commercial configurations. Amateur Radio networks, such as Brandmeister, overload the radio ID value to represent both a geographical region, and a unique ID within that region. Individual radios primarily use a 7-digit integer value for the radio ID, where the four most significant digits indicate the geographical area and the least significant three digits indicate the unique radio ID within the geographical area. For example, the individual ID for W7CIA is 3116004, where 3116 indicates a geographical area within the state of Idaho and 004 is the unique radio ID within that geographical area. The Hytera CPS implements a very rigid structure to radio ID inclusions, using a linear block struction with very small integer values, with limited ranges of values within each block, and is wholly inadequate for any network where large integer values are used for radio IDs.
Inclusion ranges should simply contain two fields, comprised of a starting ID value and an ending ID value. Any radio ID that falls within the inclusive range of the starting ID value and the ending ID value should be granted access. Such an implementation would not exclude ID values based on the size of the integer radio ID value.
With such an implementation, an exclusion could be encoded by including the full range of ID values above and below the radio ID to be excluded. For example, if 3116048 were to be excluded, a minimum ID of 0 and a maximum ID of 3116047 in the first entry, followed by a minimum ID of 3116049 and a maximum ID of 9999999 in the second entry, would support such an exclusion.
The following information was obtained from a pdf file that contains the RD-98X revision 3.5 service manual for the UHF version of the repeater. The accessory connector is a D-SUB 26-pin type. A DSUB 26-pin connector, compatible with the RD-982 accessory connector, can be ordered from DigiKey. No connector is provided with the repeater when purchased.
|3||DB26_GPIO4||GENERAL I/O INTERFACE WITH FUNCTION DEFINED THROUGH THE CPS|
|7||TXAUDIO||EXTERNALMIC SIGNAL INPUT, SUBJECT TO CPS SETTINGS|
|8||RXAUDIO||RX FILTER / FLAT AUDIO OUTPUT, SUBJECT TO CPS SETTINGS|
|10||D+||WHEN THIS PIN ISUSED FOR USB, USB OF MM10|
|12||DB26_GPIO2||GENERAL I/O INTERFACE WITH FUNCTION DEFINED THROUGH THE CPS|
|13||ACC_IO2||ACCESSORY IDENTIFICATION PIN (NOT DEFINED)|
|14||PROM IN||NOT DEFINED|
|15||ACC_IO3||ACCESSORY IDENTIFICATION PIN (NOT DEFINED)|
|16||DB26_PTT_IN||PROGRAMABLE INPUT PIN (PTT BY DEFAULT) VALID FOR LOW LEVEL, CONFIGURABLE VIA CPS|
|19||D-||WHEN THIS PIN IS USED FOR USB, USB OF MMP10 WILL BE DISABLED|
|20||DB26_GPIO3||GENERAL I/O INTERFACE WITH FUNCTION DEFINED THROUGH THE CPS|
|22||DB26_GPIO5||GENERAL I/O INTERFACE WITH FUNCTION DEFINED THROUGH THE CPS|
|23||DB26_GPIO6||GENERAL I/O INTERFACE WITH FUNCTION DEFINED THROUGH THE CPS|
|24||SLOTA_AUDIO||1. AUDIO OUTPUT OF RX SLOT A, 2. SELECT DIGITAL MODE VIA THE CPS|
|25||SLOTB_AUDIO||1. AUDIO OUTPUT OF RX SLOT B, 2. SELECT DIGITAL MODE VIA THE CPS|
|26||RSSI||RSSI INDICATION OUTPUT (RESERVED)|
Note that the text description on pin 10 appears to be incomplete, which is how it appears in the original pdf file. Both pin 10 and pin 19 pin descriptions are paired, and refer to disabling the USB interface on the 10-pin front panel connector.
A review of the RD-98X schematic shows all of the GPIO pins terminated to +5V with a 10KΩ pull-up resistor. When configured as an output, the GPIO pins are driven by a saturated transistor, with the collector buffered to the pin using a 470Ω resistor. When configured as an input, the pin drives a 33kΩ resistor in series with a 10KΩ resistor that is internal to an MUN5214DW1T1, and drives the base of the MUN5214DW1T1 transistor, which has a grounded emitter. The internal transistor also has a 47KΩ resistor from the base to emitter. With this termination, an input pin that is not connected to any external circuit should have a quiescent high state at 4 volts.
The CPS provides the following options for programming the function of the GPIO pins:
The CPS also provides the following pin reference:
The following images illustrate how to program the Hytera RD-982 to participate on the BrandMeister network, using Hytera Customer Programming Software version V8.0.09.007.NA2.
The only change made to the settings was to increase the time-out timer period to 600 seconds, or 10 minutes.
The Basic settings must include setting the Radio ID to the repeater's DMR-MARC assigned ID. Please note that the Group Call Time[s] field has been set to 1.0 seconds, based on a query of what users of Motorola repeaters are using. The value of this field is not properly depicted in the image below.
A single Digital Channel is programmed to support connection to the BrandMeister network. It is important that the IP Mult-site Connect pop-up menu have the Slot1 & Slot2 menu item selected. No contacts need be programmed, and the digital channel should have the Tx Contact Name set to None. This channel will be used as the default channel.
Although an Analog Channel is not required, it may be useful to perform repeater service and diagnostic tasks where analog test equipment may be the only equipment available.
A Mixed Channel is not necessary but was programmed to support experimentation with this feature.
The Digital Channel, Analog Channel and Mixed Channel are added to the memory zone.
The CW ID is set to the call sign of the repeater.
The W7CIA repeater a hardwired CAT-5 connection to a DSL Router/Modem. The IP address of the repeater is acquired using DHCP. All other settings within the Basic Setting and IP Connect Configuration follow the BrandMeister wiki page. The specific page on setting up the Hytera RD-98x series repeaters can be viewed by clicking here.
Note that some users of Hytera RD-98x series repeaters have experienced issues in setting the Network Authentication Key to an empty field. The recommended work-around is to write the programming file to the repeater using a non-empty Network Authentication Key, then clear the key and re-write the programming file to the repeater.
Also observed with the Hytera RD-982 repeater is that the IP address, acquired via DHCP, may be acquired after a substantial delay after powering up the repeater. Be patient. If an address is not acquired after one-minute has elapsed after power-up or programming, verify the network settings. It may be necessary to disable DHCP in order to be able to set the Gateway IP address before re-enabling DHCP.
Hytera recommeds going through your dealer to obtain firmware updates. However, we have had success in going directly to Hytera to obtain updates by informing them that our dealer recommended contacting Hytera directly.
An important consideration, when purchasing the programming cable for the Hytera RD-982, is whether the programming cable supports firmware updates. There are two options that support firmware updates:
Once the repeater appears on the BrandMeister repeaters page, it is necessary to conatct the administrator of the BrandMeister Master server that is being used to request that admin access be added to the repeater trustee's BrandMeister account. A list of administrators can be found by clicking here. Once granted, the repeater trustee can then edit the information page for the repeater, set up static talk groups, and setup clusters (which allow local talk groups to be shared among a defined set of peer repeaters).
You can monitor your repeater's participation in the BrandMeister network by using the Brandmeister Last Heard page. Instruction on constructing a filter in your web-browser, to limit the displayed traffic to just the repeaters, individuals, or talk-groups that you wish to monitor, can be found by clicking here.
Users of the W7CIA repeater can usually be found on the Idaho ARES 31160 Talk-Group. If you are placing an RD-982 repeater on the air and need to make a contact on the Brandmeister network for testing purposes, you can usually reach W7CIA, N7IBC, N7BMH, K1BMW or W7ELE on this Talk-Group.
Please be sure to listen first, after activating the Idaho ARES 31160 Talk-Group on your repeater, to ensure that no Idaho ARES activities are being conducted prior to making a call.
|Please support the Idaho businesses, agencies and organizations that have supported CIARC.|
|This web-site is developed, funded and maintained by Ray Montagne (W7CIA)|